Major technology trends that shaped 2016.
28 December 2016

Here's a quick look at some of the major technology trends that shaped 2016, and what to expect from them in the years to come.


The top trending technology of 2016 that you see here are not new. We've seen blockchain, artificial intelligence and virtual/augmented reality for a number of years now, but 2016 is the year where they take centre-stage, and contributed to the shaping of our technology landscape. 


That said, it's important to note that most of these technology are still in the early stages, and have an incredible amount of potential in the years to come. What it means for enterprises is that businesses need to understand, and adopt them as soon as possible for competitive advantage.


Here is our roundup of the top technology trends, the impact they had on us this year, and what we can expect from them in the years to come. 


Augmented Reality

In 2016, the world caught a glimpse of what AR can do, through the global phenomenon known as Pokemon Go. The game by Niantic was wildly popular (more than 100 million downloads), and showed the potential that augmented reality has. 


While its success was largely associated with mobile gaming, it can be used by businesses in a large variety of ways. Use cases range from the more obvious ones like marketing and advertising, to the niche ones like product design (manufacturing), training and physical inspection (medical). 


As of now, it's seeing limited usage by businesses, but you can be sure that this technology will be ubiquitous in the next few years, as it matures and grows.


Artificial Intelligence

Towards the end of the year, Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, showed off his homemade AI called Jarvis (and voiced by Morgan Freeman). It operates a variety of devices (including a t-shirt cannon) in Zuckerberg's home, and basically gives us a glimpse of what AI means for consumers. 


However, this use case barely scratches the surface of the proverbial iceberg. AI is what makes big data remotely useful, and is responsible for technology like self-driving cars, face recognition and voice recognition (through machine learning) - basically evolving “smart” AI into “cognitive”, or context-aware AI. 


In the enterprise, AI is still mostly used for task automation and solving other highly complex big data problems. With the introduction of “cognitive” AI, it’s becoming much more capable, and is beginning to be used to power chatbots to supplement contact centres.



Blockchain, the underlying technology behind bitcoin, is basically a distributed digital ledger used to track transactions in a highly secure manner. It is so effective at what it does, that major financial establishments are investing heavily into blockchain.


The technology's potential to shape the way business transactions are so massive, that tech giant IBM is working on building a blockchain ecosystem that accelerates its proliferation throughout the business world.


What's even more interesting is that the healthcare industry is, and will be a major driving force in the advancement of blockchain. Their interest in the technology revolves around its ability to secure and streamline the exchange (and interoperability) of patient health-related data.


Internet of Things

IoT seems to be a top trending technology for the past few years due to how useful it is. It's becoming a critical technology for businesses looking to automate or streamline processes. However, this year, the spotlight was on IoT for its severe lack of security.


It was responsible for a major DDoS attack in the US, and security experts all over the globe were unanimous in calling for IoT security to be vastly improved. 


In fact, it's potential is so vast, that companies like Google and Amazon are focused on streamlining the technology, making it easily compatible with more products, by introducing control hubs that communicate with all connected devices.


If the “hub” concept takes off on the consumer side of things, it will start to make its way into the industrial environment. Combined with smarter AI, IoT is poised to become a much more powerful tool than it is today. 


Big Data and Analytics

It wasn’t so long ago, that enterprises were experimenting with big data and analytics to help streamline and improve decision-making internally. Companies who have graduated from experimentation in certain key areas, and leveraging on analytics across the entire organisation, are called insight-driven organisations (IDOs).


2016, these companies—who have discovered the immense benefits that big data brings to their organisation—are helping big data and analytics continue its meteoric rise, as it maintains its position as one of the world’s top 5 industries.


Throughout the year, the banking sector alone invested a staggering US$17 billion into solving challenges in risk management, fraud prevention and compliance related activities, followed closely by the telecommunications, utilities, insurance and transportation sectors. 

Software Defined Networking

When software defined networking (SDN) was introduced, enterprises looked upon it with caution. It promised better performance at a lower cost, something which enterprises need, but were unsure about this untested new technology that was reliant on IP networking (or internet).


Fast forward to 2016, SDN is proving its worth several times over, thanks to the reliable and fast networks that Singapore’s telecommunications sector can provide. Enterprises are learning that SDN’s benefits far outweigh their concerns about restructuring (or even writing off) their legacy networks.


With SDN, enterprises are able to move faster (better app delivery, reduced lag between IT requests and readiness, increased agility) and save much more, with a simple shift from traditional vertical solutions, to a distributed and more easily managed system.


It is so effective that SDN is no longer constrained to data centers, and are showing up all over the network. By 2017, users can expect a more responsive on-demand environment, whose growth is accelerated by SDN.

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